“Banish the ordinary.”
~ Dan Kennedy
I first encountered Dan Kennedy’s work back in the 1990’s.
I was living in Mozambique and looking for a way to help some of the women in our rural communities make more money from their produce. Up until then I wasn’t really a fan of marketing and sales, but I had realised that I would have to learn about marketing, so I could help these women provide a better life for themselves and their families and sell their produce at a far higher profit.
Thanks to Dan’s book, The Ultimate Marketing Plan, I was able to do just that using the practical, low-cost strategies he taught and that delivered almost instant (and ongoing) results.
I was hooked on the power of marketing and copywriting from that moment and I quickly discovered that the principles and strategies that worked to create profitable demand for African farm produce were just as effective in affluent settings!
“When everyone goes left, you should go right.” ~ Zig Ziglar
Banish the Ordinary by Defying Industry Norms
That’s the first aspect of the command to banish the ordinary from your business.
Find your industry norms and break them.
You can do this on many levels… Here are a few to get your creative juices flowing:
- Pricing strategy. If your competitors charge by the hour, charge a fixed fee; if they cut profits to the bone, inflate yours…
- Customer service. I’m not a big fan of 24/7 service for many businesses – a terrible chat bot or answering service can be more frustrating than none at all, but set expectations and meet or exceed them! Judging from experience, it’s not hard to beat most of your competitors when you choose a different path…
- How you handle delivery makes a statement, especially when you’re delivering information and services. You can use email, physical mail, downloads, membership sites, mobile apps, personal visit or…
- These days I’d say just about anything physical trumps electronic delivery – and your phones are increasingly becoming a ‘physical’ delivery machine. Again, look at what you’re competitors are doing and develop your own unique twist. Often it’s as much about unique content and approach as unique delivery method – so NEVER use the swipe texts and emails that platforms offer you (unless you have no choice).
- When all is said and done, the person who cares most about your visual branding is you! That said, if your ‘industry standard’ colour is blue, orange, or… Think about selecting a completely different colour and style. Let your product and service shape brand visibility not the other way round.
- Look outside your industry. Most businesses look at their competition for pricing, products, etc. Profitable businesses borrow from other industries. One financial planner ‘borrowed’ a new product offering that has been wildly successful from his favourite restaurant. 2020 was a bumper year for the financial industries, but this one product has outsold almost everything else they offer.
- If your competitors are advertising on Facebook, send direct mail; if they go on the radio, buy space in the trade journals… The possibilities are endless!
When you pay attention to the norms in your industry and list them out…
You ‘ll be surprised by all the opportunities you have to do something different from your competitors.
When you banish the ordinary, you stand out like Waldo does in those picture books.
“It won’t work in my industry. My industry is different.”
When I first heard Dan Kennedy say this was a problem I thought he was joking… Then I heard client after client say those very words.
Now I just smile at them and say,
- “How do you know that?” (Mostly they have no hard evidence to support their position) and,
- “Would you like to try it and see?”
It’s actually a great way to discover if a client is a good fit to work with me. You see, I already have experience doing this in industries from the staid and highly regulated:
- Accounting, Financial Services, Dentistry, Alternative Health;
To the standard:
- Restaurants, Retail, Trade, Manufacturing, Property Management;
It doesn’t matter if you are targeting C-suite executives, Board members, Royalty, or anyone else. At the end of the day, the person you are trying to attract is HUMAN!
That means they have needs, emotions, desires, and preferences to which you can appeal.